Shaq Partners With C by Courvoisier For His All-Star Comedy Jam

Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dominant centers to ever play in the NBA, with multiple championships and awards under his belt, but he’s also a genuinely funny guy. From his entertaining Twitter feed to his endlessly quotable interviews (“My game’s like the Pythagorean Theorem. It ain’t got no answer.”), the guy knows humor, so it’s no suprise that he’s teaming up with a handful of professional comedians for Shaquille O’Neal’s All-Star Comedy Jam 2012, which will be touring the country this spring – including a handful of dates in Orlando for NBA All-Star Weekend February 23-25. He’s also partnering with C by Courvoisier, the newest expression from the French cognac house, which will be sponsoring the tour. Shaq and I don’t have too much in common, but since we both like C by Courvoisier, I’ll share my thoughts on it, and we’ll see if he agrees. 

I received a bottle a couple of weeks ago, before I even knew that Shaq was involved, and gave it a proper tasting, which to me involves swirling, sniffing, sipping, swishing, and swallowing, while thinking deep thoughts and taking copious notes. Like many of the new cognacs on the market, C by Courvoisier – which is aged in oak barrels – is made for mixing in cocktails, but it’s nice on its own as well, which is how I sampled it first. My findings? It’s a crisp and refreshing drink with pronounced fruit flavors. I tasted apricot, pear, and peach, along with notes of caramel and vanilla. Overall, it’s tasty, smooth, and not overly sweet, and has a very pleasant mouthfeel. 

As for mixing it in a cocktail, I didn’t go too crazy, simply adding some of my new favorite mixer, Q Ginger (an all-natural ginger ale), into a cocktail I’m calling the C&Q. Apparently that’s enough to make me a mixological genius, because I found the C&Q  to be a delightful marriage of flavors. It’s definitely on the dry side, the way I like it, and there’s a lot going on in the glass to think about and enjoy. The grapes, ginger, and oak all play nicely together, just like Shaq and, well, never mind. 

So, check out Shaq’s All-Star Comedy Jam and pick up a bottle of C by Courvoisier if you’re into cognac, or cocktails, or just feel like trying something new. Drink delicious drinks and laugh at funny jokes. Life is good. 

C by Courvoisier costs about $35 a bottle and is available at better liquor stores and wine shops across the nation. 

Morning Links: Hugh Hefner Almost Ditched at Altar, Natalie Portman Gives Birth

● Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied welcomed their baby boy into the world yesterday. No word yet on name or photos, but surely, we’ll be made more familiar soon. [People] ● Scandal in Playboy land! Just five days before they were scheduled to walk down the aisle, Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris have called off their wedding. And according to today’s Page Six, they did so with good reason: Apparently Crystal Harris had been secretly offered $500,000 to ditch Hef at the alter in order to make a “media sensation” of their Lifetime TV special wedding. They called things off early when she decided she couldn’t go through with it. But Hugh, ever the playboy, already has new weekend plans. [Page Six] ● L.A. music promoter Robert Ross told a court yesterday that he had been kidnapped by gang members who were looking for a Shaq sex tape. When they couldn’t find the tape, they settled for Ross’s diamond earrings, a Rolex watch, and $15,000 in cash instead. [CNN]

● If you were thinking about flatware as a wedding gift for Kim and Kris, make sure it’s Hermes. According to their wedding-registry, they’ve got $155 cereal bowls on order. [PopEater] ● Lil B broke news yesterday, tweeting about his feature on an upcoming Lil Wayne mix tape. Mack Maine went on to confirm that a new tape, Thanks 4 Waiting, is in fact on, to tide over fans while they wait on the oft-delayed Tha Carter IV. #C4boom [RapRadar] ● Troubled Teen Mom Amber Portwood was rushed to the hospital after a possible suicide attempt. Season 3 should be a good one. [Radar]

Morning Links: Shaq Retires, Lauren Conrad Thinks She’s Bad at Reality TV

● After 19 years, Shaq announced he’s stepping down from pro basketball yesterday via a twitvid. He already seems to be enjoying retirement. [Twitter/Shaq] ● Lady Gaga agrees that her album, in digital form, was only worth the 99 cents Amazon was selling it for. “It’s invisible. it’s in space. If anything, I applaud a company like Amazon for equating the value of digital versus the physical copy,” she told WSJ. [WSJ] ● Justin Timberlake and Ashely Olsen have been spotted together at afterparties, art shows, and even a polo match. It must be love. [NYDN]

● Derek Cianfrance’s (of Blue Valentine fame) next project, a crime drama called Place Beyond the Pines, is coming together, with both Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling signed on to star. Sounds so dreamy. [Variety] ● Lauren Conrad seems to think she’s better off without a reality show. “It’s easier to launch the [fashion] line,” she says. And anyways, she wasn’t very good at it: “there weren’t any scenes of me getting drunk or fighting, so what’s the point?” [Page Six] ● Justin Bieber is happy to show you his slam dunk, so long as the basketball hoop is child-sized. [Celebuzz]

TwitChange Will Not Change Your Life, But It’s For a Good Cause

There’s an auction going on right now in which you can bid on getting your favorite celebrities to tweet @ you, or re-tweet something you’ve tweeted, or follow you on Twitter. You can choose from a number of celebrities: Justin Bieber, Ryan Seacrest, Ricky Martin, Kim Kardashian, Shaquille O’Neal, and Perez Hilton (yes, Perez is now a celebrity—even my parents recognized him walking down the street). Some auction items, like the Kim Kardashian mega package, are already fetching over $2000. The money goes to, a worthy cause indeed. Yet I still don’t understand why anyone would want to spend this much money on the simple act of, let’s be honest, a celebrity’s PR person publicly acknowledging your existence.

Because that’s it, isn’t it? That’s why we tweet and use Facebook, so others will confirm that we do indeed exist. Every @ is a testament to the fact that some other human across the connecto-web acknowledges that you, too, control your carpal-tunneled hands with a synapse-firing brain. We need these confirmations because we sit in front of computers all the time in our underwear, separated by screens from physical life, replacing meaningful relationships with fantasy relationships with well-groomed celebrities.

Enough ranting. It’s a good deal for the charity—essentially they get tons of money in exchange for 10 whole seconds of a celeb’s time—and I hope they raise a lot of cash. Also, it would be pretty cool to have Shaq follow me on Twitter…

Links: Shaq Picks Art; And the Internet Said, Let There Be Prehab

● Shaq curates an art show—this is as rad as it sounds. [Vice] ● A portrait of Alec Baldwin, with very delicate lips, commissioned by his brother Stephen, up for auction on eBay. [Perez] ● A Wilco themed sandwich shop opens in Toronto. [Pitchfork]

● Paramount has reportedly purchased a John Hughes script, called Grisby’s Go Broke “about a dysfunctional Chicago, Illinois family who lose all their money when the economy slumps.” [Jam!] ● Evil Dead, reduced to 60 seconds of bloody claymation. [Vulture] ● How Charlie Sheen and a Gawker commenter birthed a new word, “prehab.” [NYTimes]